This Place Is Real Fest Makes a statement for the suburban DIY music scene
The Sixties at Fennario | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo |

This Place Is Real Fest brought three days worth of DIY bands to the intimate second floor space of Fennario Coffee Shop in West Chester over this past weekend, and displayed some of the great talent from our area’s young musicians. Starting on Thursday, hometown pop punk heroes, Spraynard, played a surprise set alongside other local bands, while Friday saw sets from a great selection of mostly touring bands. Saturday rounded out the festival with performances by younger bands from the area, all of which impressed the crowd with their unique styles of rock.

The first, and newest, band, Spumoni, opened up with a few minutes of awkward, deadpan humor before playing an interesting set of indie rock that should appeal to fans of Modest Mouse. Space rock band Moonstriker riffed through countless talented technicalities, playing mostly new songs which are in the process of being recorded for their debut full length. Older songs like “Shere Khan” were performed with passion and precision to the growing crowd.

Lansdale garage rockers, The Sixties, were up next, and their set of hits from their debut full length, There It Isn’t, sounded huge. The groovy yet grungy guitar lines and raw vocals were spot on and feverish, especially on songs like “Illuminati Biscotti” or “Cocaine Steering Wheel.” Indie pop/punk band, Ohbree, put on an absurdly fun set filled with keys and a horn section in addition to the bass, guitar, and drums. With an upbeat feel to most songs, vocalist Andrew Scott added some in-the-moment screams as the band shredded their respective instruments, all of which made the performance more boisterous than their albums. Ohbree’s set may have been the most interesting set of the night, because the band held down dancy beats that rode the line between modern day pop and swing and had a great time doing it.

Punk band, Twin Pines, played next, bringing an emotional set of climactic songs that were filled with captivating melodies, screams, and guitar riffs. The young band has a knack for songwriting and putting their all into the set, which consisted of several new songs and a few from their EP, Nice Guys. Rollin’ Loaded ended the night with a powerful and chaotic set of rock n roll that was heavy with guitar shredding and impassioned vocals. Long, thrashy, hard rocking songs from the stomping band members got the crowd dancing along and the second floor shaking.

The last day of This Place Is Real Fest showed the diversity of creativity we have in the Philadelphia music scene, and experiencing it in a small, welcoming space with decent sound positively affirmed the suburb’s importance in that scene. Keep an eye out for more cool shows in the suburbs as Kenny Miller (Spumoni, Brokehead) and others continue to build outwards.

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